Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Craft Show Etiquette: Buyers Edition

 photo by Treefort Naturals

Summer is the start of the market season, where artisans, makers, farmers, and food vendors make their way out into public spaces to share their goods.  Visiting markets is a great way to spend a day out: the food is good, the sights are different, and there is usually a great community vibe.

However, there are market visitors that can drag the experience down for those who are vending at these events.  Customers' actions and dialogue can be hurtful to a vendor's experience.  Our Nutmeg Collective members and friends have come up with a list of their biggest pet peeves while at events.  (And yes, all of these things really did happen.)

1. Please do not smoke in a vendor's space.  You may unwittingly do damage to the products, plus no one appreciates the smell.

2. Don't make comments about the price.  Keep in mind that the goods you are looking at are likely made or grown by one person or a very small group of people.  There is value in the small, the local, the handmade.  You are not shopping a big box store so don't expect the prices of one.

3. Do not utter the words, "Oh, I can make that."  Maybe you can, but don't insult the person who is standing there that did make that.  It may actually be harder than you think.

4. Don't block a booth while catching up with your long lost friend/neighbor/former teacher.  While it's great that we get to see people we know out in the community, by blocking a display you are stopping potential buyers from buying things.  Step into an aisleway for your conversation.

5. Please watch food and drinks while in a vendor's booth.  One small spill to you may be expensive damage to a vendor's products or display.

6. Repeating the words, "This is so cute!" multiple times then walking out of the booth with nothing.  Consider buying one of the cute items.

7. Touching everything you see is a no-no.  Pick up an item if you'd like to inspect it further or if you plan to purchase it, but otherwise, there is no reason to put your hands on every item on a table.


8. Please keep an eye on your children.  While they don't mean to, children are often the cause of a dropped, dirty product or a busted display.  Also, please keep them from touching everything.

9. Grilling the vendor for information on how they make their product or where they buy their supplies is frowned upon.  This probably has taken them much time and research and they do not want to share it with you.


10. You are not at a tag sale- please do not try to make a deal or ask if you get a discount if you buy more than one.  You would not walk into Macy's and ask them for a discount.  Similarly, the prices will not be reduced at the end of the day; that merchandise is going on to the next show.

11. Please do not photograph items without asking permission.  Many vendors have had people text photos of their products- like greeting cards- to friends in lieu of actually purchasing them.

12. Put things back the way you found them, or at least as best as you can.  It takes a long time for a vendor to set up a nice display.

13. Don't put your shopping bag/pocketbook/food on top of products out for display while you are looking and/or paying.

14. Just because you are outside does not mean you can spit in someone's booth.

Overall, vendors want you to have fun, be courteous, and enjoy their products.  It makes for a more satisfying day for all involved.  Stay tuned for our upcoming etiquette tips for vendors.

What other craft show pet peeves would you like to share?  Tell us in the comments!

Kristen Skelton of Milo and Molly is a self-taught sewist, Kristen who runs her business while staying at home with her two small children.  Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.  Stop by and see her collection of bold modern accessories and home goods.
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | miloandmollyshop@gmail.com 


  1. I'd like to print this up and post it outside my booth!!

  2. I'm with Tracy - printing and posting would be a great thing! :)

  3. This is all really good advice. I still have a little trouble with #6, though. I frequently see things that I absolutely LOVE, and appreciate....but usually can't afford. I hope I've never offended a vendor!

  4. I have a problem with number 6, too...should I not go to a craft show because I am on a budget? If I say something is cute, perhaps someone else will notice it and buy it - even if I can't afford it. Showing appreciation for something well done should not be a bad thing...

  5. Please watch your dogs. Males especially may feel the need to "mark" territory when there are other dogs around. That "territory" might happen to be the corner of a vendors' display booth. Absolutely disgusting. This has happened twice to me...and the owners are oblivious


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